I am getting more requests to share The Better Plan with principal and teacher groups. The invitation follows a similar pattern – someone reads the Soul Shapers book, or hears me giving a short talk somewhere, and they ask their principal or superintendent if my sharing The Better Plan in their neck of the woods could be arranged. The person doing the inviting, the superintendent or director, may not have read Soul Shapers, yet here they are about to give the hearts and minds of their educators to someone they don’t know much about. And so I get asked, “Now what is it you present?”
I was actually responding to an invitation this past week at the same time that The Better Plan 1 class was in session. So I explained the situation to them and asked them to write a half page on what they saw as the essence of The Better Plan. They were asked to write to one of the following prompts:
The Better Plan is –
What I learned from The Better Plan is –
Their responses, which appear below, are instructive and invitational to each of us.
The Better Plan is about empowering individuals to choose. Unlike a classroom management class, which focuses on children being better controlled by the adult, I actually found it to be a me-management class. It makes a case for abandoning traditional methods and embarking on a new adventure – an adventure of becoming what we want our students to become. Karie
What I learned from attending The Better Plan is that although we have been engrained with external control, we actually were created with free will. Choice theory, it turns out, compliments the way we are wired. Lisa
What I have learned from The Better Plan is how to be more inclusive of others’ Quality World. I have learned that we have certain biases that cannot be avoided, because of how we view the real world through the lenses and filters we have had through time. Realizing that others also have these biases, and then being willing to explore each others’ perspectives can lead to a better world. Tammy
Though I am trying to figure out exactly what it means. I do know that it means we choose everything we do, even our misery. Now I am trying to figure how I will apply it to my life and in my classroom. I also understand what it is not. The Better Plan is not coercion or manipulation; it is not the “deadly habits” or external controlling behaviors. So, since I know what it is not, with the help of the Holy Spirit, I will strive to not coerce, manipulate, use external control and deadly habits in my life and classroom. Vickie
The Better Plan is a way of thinking about the world, especially when it comes to how we view other people. Primarily aimed at helping those in education professions, it is applicable to all human relationships – marriage, parenting, work settings, and boards. The Better Plan teaches us to understand Choice Theory, which maintains that we can only control ourselves; we cannot control anyone else. To work together effectively, we must seek to develop relationships, rather than attempting to use the “deadly” habits of criticizing, blaming, complaining, nagging, threatening, punishing, bribing, or rewarding to control. While these deadly habits are all too common in our family and work relationships, we can begin to practice this Better Plan by intentionally applying Choice Theory practices and continuing to learn and teach what we are learning to those around us. Brad
What I learned from The Better Plan is that kids learn in many different ways. They think differently than teachers and just because the teacher sees it one way doesn’t mean the student will see it that way, too. In order to reach students, teachers need to involve them in making the learning meaningful. Education must be need-satisfying for students. Kory
The Better Plan is about inspiring students to be responsible for themselves, to strengthen the many positive qualities they have, and to invite them to live by faith, grow in the Holy Spirit, and choose a life with Christ. Leslie
What I have learned from The Better Plan is . . . so much. The most powerful part of the whole thing, though, is this – the only person I can control is myself. BAM!! Krystalynn
I really like the idea of “me-management” as a way of describing The Better Plan. I like the idea that The Better Plan honors the way in which God originally created us and wired us. I like that it sees the individuality of students and seeks to meet their unique needs. And I especially like that The Better Plan helps each of us grow in the Holy Spirit and choose a life with Christ.
Me Management and the Total Package
So, is The Better Plan about classroom management? I could answer that question with a Yes and I could answer that question with a No. Maybe a better way to ask the question would be “Will The Better Plan affect my classroom management?” The answer to this last version of the question is a resounding Yes! “What’s the difference?” you might be thinking.
When we learn about choice theory and its principles begin to influence our thinking and our behavior, it affects all of our relationships and everything we do. It positively infiltrates every aspect of our lives. It is like wearing a pair of glasses with a color-tinted lens. Everything we see is different than before. Our relationship with Jesus is seen in a new light; our relationships with the significant people in our life are seen differently; and yes, if I am a teacher, the way I manage my classroom will be profoundly and wonderfully affected. More than just a classroom management strategy, The Better Plan is about the total package of our lives!